In the last analysis, it seems to me, what is truly critical to the successful education of our children at the high school is what happens each day in each classroom. The facilities and equipment have to be in place to facilitate the faculty and student interaction, the faculty has to be supported and encouraged by the community and administration to effectively challenge their students, and the students have to be put in the optimal environment to make learning exciting and rewarding. Although each classroom environment is not optimal every day, making it so seems to be a worthwhile and necessary goal.

As the policy maker for the high school, the District 200 Board of Education is responsible for steering the high school in the direction of making each element of that classroom environment come to life. Among others, the board wrestles with the difficult financial decisions of providing the appropriate resources for the students, faculty and staff. And, these days, it is challenged, as it should be, to determine how best to eliminate the differences in achievement among the students.

This election cycle’s crop of board candidates is a good one. I think very highly of Dee Millard and certainly hope she retains her seat on the board. But there is one candidate whose presence on the board, in my view, is essential. George Bailey is the person with the knowledge and experience to help bring the high school classrooms to life for all of our children. George has a Ph.D., teaches in classrooms and has worked professionally with the administration of
Columbia College in addressing its classroom issues, academic and financial. George has given countless hours of invaluable service to our elementary schools, our middle schools and the high school, including its Citizens Council. George is an accomplished author and musician and has served effectively on the Board of the Oak Park Area Arts Council. And perhaps most importantly, George has devoted hours and hours to mentoring at-risk young men – helping those students who are struggling. George gets the issues and he gets our kids. My three children have graduated from the high school and benefited from the dedication of the faculty and an effective, generative learning environment. I want current and future students at the high school to have the same (and hopefully better) opportunities my kids had in the classroom.

As a community, we should put George Bailey in the position to help teach our children well. Our children deserve no less.

I sincerely hope you’ll join me in voting for George Bailey for the District 200 Board on April 7.

Lance Taylor

Oak Park

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